Here's the description of the book from Bethany House Publishers: "During New York City's Gilded Age...The game is played amid banquets and balls.
The prize is a lifetime of wealth and privilege.
The rules will test friendships and
the desires of a young woman's heart.
Clara Carter is the social season's brightest star...
but at what cost?
For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling.
Yet Clara soon wonders if this is the life she really wants. Especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her marriage at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game."
My Rating: Summer
From start to finish, this book draws the reader in and takes the reader back to New York during the Gilded Age. All of the details--from the clothing to the furniture--make this world very real, and I quickly became involved in the story. Mitchell does a beautiful job of making everything seem so real, from the atmosphere to the emotions of the characters. And what intriguing characters they all are! Because of the first person point-of-view, it was easy to sympathize with the main character (Clara), and it was fun and enlightening to see her world through her eyes. Her options for suitors were quite the interesting lot, as well! Interestingly enough, the De Vries family reminded me a lot of the Tilney family from Northanger Abbey. (Although I confess to not having read Northanger Abbey yet; my impression was made from seeing the PBS version of the story.) I loved all of the dancing scenes, and I enjoyed learning about all of those social conventions of the day.
This story takes a while to unfold, but to be really immersed into the time period I think there would be no way to rush the plot. In my opinion, the pacing is just right, and the whole reading experience makes it feel just like the reader is debuting with Clara. And, oh! how I loved how it all turned out! The story is written beautifully and really demonstrates the wonder of unconditional love. With a great message about what is truly important in life, as well as the book being such a great love story, I highly recommend it!
*Thank you to Jim Hart from Bethany House Publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*